Beaufort High School's Eagles Stadium welcomed back its team Friday, opening its gates after a tough stretch left the team searching for something positive.
A homecoming crowd and Region 8-AAAA rival Summerville were on the docket. And Beaufort High had a chance to create some momentum entering the final stretch of the regular season.
But for everything working for them, the Eagles started flat.
Two proud programs entered the game with losing records. Summerville looked like a team that had found its way, cruising to a 45-28 victory and subduing the homecoming crowd.
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"We just weren't ready for them, plain and simple," said senior safety Zach Brown, who was a member of the homecoming court. "We didn't come out with the fire we needed. They came out with fire in their hearts and fire in the way they hit. We had no answer for it the first quarter."
Summerville led 17-0 after the first quarter and, when Beaufort High finally joined the scoring, the Green Wave returned a kick 100 yards to remove doubt before halftime.
Legendary Summerville coach John McKissick, on the sideline more than six decades, earned career victory No. 598. With three games remaining, he has a chance to reach his 600th by the end of the regular season.
McKissick praised Beaufort High running back JaClay Mixon, who continued to bear the load for the Eagles' offense, carrying 31 times for 176 yards.
"He breaks tackles, he's got great balance, he spins off," McKissick said. "He's just outstanding. We just happened to get the jump on them."
Summerville improved to 2-0 in Region 8-AAAA and in position to help deliver McKissick his milestone, with Colleton County, Ashley Ridge and Bluffton still on the schedule.
Beaufort High, reeling from losses at Bluffton and at national-power Goose Creek, never matched Summerville's intensity. The Green Wave found soft spots in the middle of the Beaufort High defense and freshman quarterback Sawyer Bridges found several receivers.
Brown said Summerville attacked the same weakness Bluffton exploited, the seam in the Cover 3 look. He said the Eagles worked in practice to stop it, expecting the Green Wave to have done their homework.
But everything came easy for Summerville early. After Beaufort High's first four drives -- three punts and an interception -- the Green Wave led 24-0. Beaufort High trailed 45-7 before the Green Wave went to the bench.
Eagles quarterback Ben Vaigneur threw late touchdown passes to Stephen Baggett and Chris Tealey, and Mixon scored his second touchdown of the game to bring the final margin closer.
After the loss to the Bobcats, Beaufort coach Mark Clifford talked about his team overcoming adversity, that the Eagles winning their remaining games would be a feel-good story. Brown said the Eagles will have to continue to play as a team and that the defense can expect to hit all week in preparation for Ashley Ridge.
Summerville 45, Beaufort High 28
Summerville 17 14 14 0 -- 45
Beaufort 0 7 7 14 -- 28
S-- Jerod Tucker 12 run (Parker Cleveland kick) 9:28
S-- Cleveland 41 FG 6:16
S-- DJ Gaddist 12 run (Cleveland kick) 2:46
S-- Sean Smith 11 pass from Sawyer Bridges (Cleveland kick) 9:12
B-- JaClay Mixon 2 run (Brady Cormier kick) 2:35
S-- Darin Smalls 100 kick return (Cleveland kick) 2:21
S-- Tucker 1 run (Cleveland kick) 9:39
S-- Jacerie Ponder 55 run (Cleveland kick) 6:53
B-- Stephen Baggett 5 pass from Ben Vaigneur (Cormier kick) 2:42
B-- Mixon 13 run (Cormier kick) 10:16
B-- Chris Tealey 70 pass from Vaigneur (Cormier kick) :38
First downs 20 19
Passing yards 153 195
Comp-Att-Int 9-15 13-26-1
Rushing 27-229 42-211
Penalties-yards 5-45 8-75
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Punts-avg 2-39 4-39
Rushing: Summerville -- Jerod Tucker 10-100, DJ Gaddist 8-40, David Coccili 5-22, Jacerie Ponder 1-55, William Luck 1-5, Daniel Smith 1-5. Beaufort -- JaClay Mixon 31-176, Deontaye Singleton, 6-25, Javon Dudley 3-31, Ben Vaigneur 2-(-21).
Passing: Summerville -- Sawyer Bridges 9-15-153. Beaufort -- Ben Vaigneur 13-26-202-1, Chris Tealey 1-1-9.
Receiving: Summerville -- Kendall Parker 2-45, Luck 3-38, Sean Smith 3-35, Tyrone Hayes 1-18, Tucker 1-17. Beaufort -- Chris Tealey 2-83, Thomas Parker 5-49, Stephen Baggett 4-45, Mixon 3-14.